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Old 08-24-2012, 20:12   #1 (permalink)
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Post Basic information about Android phones (Updated)

Basic information about Android phones

Android is a Linux-based operating system primarily designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers utilizing ARM processors. A secondary target for the light weight OS is embedded systems such as networking equipment, smart TV systems including set top boxes and built in systems and various devices as varied as house hold appliances and wrist Most embedded applications are for ARM based devices but notably Google's Google TV devices use Intel chips with the x86 version of Android. The x86 processor architecture is also utilized, to a lesser extent, in traditional personal computer applications most notably with net-book and, rarely, laptops and desktops. It is developed by the Open Handset Alliance, led by Google.

Google financially backed the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., and later purchased it in 2005.The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 86 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.Google releases the Android code as open-source, under the Apache License.The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.

Version history
Each version after "Astro" and "Bender" is named in alphabetical order after a dessert or sugary treat, with 1.5 "Cupcake" being the first and every update since following this naming convention:

1.0 Astro
1.1 Bender
1.5 Cupcake
1.6 Donut
2.0-2.1 Eclair
2.2 Froyo Release Date : May 20, 2010
2.3.3–2.3.7 Gingerbread Release Date : February 9, 2011
3.x Honeycomb Release Date : July 15, 2011
4.0.1–4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich Release Date : December 16, 2011
4.1.x - 4.2.x - 4.3.x Jelly Bean Release Date : July 9, 2012 , November 13, 2012 , July 24, 2013
4.4 KitKat Release Date : October 31, 2013

Android partitions
The phone's internal memory (not the SD card) is solid-state (flash) memory, AKA NAND. It can be partitioned much like a normal hard drive can be partitioned. The bootloader exists in its own partition. Recovery is another partition; radio, system, cache, etc are all partitions.
Here are the standard and important partitions on an Android phone(HTC):

/misc - holds CID(for some models) - Build version(main version) - bootloader lock state(for some models)
/boot - bootloader?, kernel
/hboot second bootloader
/recovery - holds the recovery program (either clockworkmod or RAmon - EX4 ...)
/system - operating system goes here: Android, Sense, boot animation(splash screen), busybox, etc
/cache - cached data from OS usage
/data - user applications, data, settings, etc.
/radio - the phone's radio firmware, controls cellular, data, GPS, bluetooth.
/wimax - firmware for WiMax.

The below partitions are not android-specific. They are tied to the hardware of the phone, but the kernel may have code allowing Android to interact with said hardware.

Android ROMs
By the way, the word ROM means Read Only Memory, but has migrated in the modding community to mean an actual custom OS image that you install into the ROM area of your phone.Also, the word kernel essentially means the heart of the OS - it's the barebones operating system components.
All android roms can be stock/orginal and custom image
A stock ROM is the version of the phone's operating system that comes with your phone when you buy it.
A custom ROM is a fully standalone version of the OS, including the kernel (which makes everything run), apps, services, etc - everything you need to operate the device, except it's customized by someone in some way.(in custom rom always have only boot,system,splash screen).

Custom Rom
When you flash a custom ROM, that ROM typically includes a kernel and an OS. That means the /boot and /system partitions will be modified at a minimum. Some ROMs require a clean install, so a format of the /data and /cache partitions is sometimes built into the .zip that you flash. This is essentially doing a factory reset. See next paragraph.

Android Kernel
A kernel is a layer of code that allows the OS and applications to interface with your phone's hardware. The degree in which you can access your phone's hardware features depends on the quality of code in the kernel. The homebrew (rooting) community for HTC has made several kernel code improvements that give us additional features from our hardware that the stock kernel does not. When you flash a custom ROM, you automatically get a kernel. But you can also flash a standalone kernel ROM on top of the existing one, effectively overwriting it. These days, the difference in custom kernels is less about new features and more about alternate configurations. Choosing a custom kernel is basically choosing one that works best with your ROM.

Android Recovery Program/Partition

Recovery Mode (recovery.img) is a special piece of software that gives you access to administrative functions, such as installing the base system (ROM), making backups, and performing a 'factory reset'.

There are several options to boot into a recovery section:
For most HTC Android Devices:
Hold Volume Down & the Power button until the device boots to the bootloader. Once in the bootloader, use Volume Down to select "recovery" and press the Power button to select.
For most Samsung Android Devices:
Hold Volume Up, Home, & the Power button, continue to hold all three until the screen flashes, then release all buttons.
For most LG Android Devices:
Hold Volume Down & the Power button until the device boots to the recovery.
For most Xperia Android Devices:
Press back button few times while booting
For most ZTE Android Devices:
Press Volume Down and Power.

Recovery program have 2 model:
1- orginal
2- Custom

in orginal recovery you have only 3-4 option(wipe data - wipe cache - reboot - apply zip update)
in custom recovery you have more than 6 option(wipe data - wipe cache - reboot - apply zip update - backup & restore - partitioning - mounting....)

Rooting is a process allowing users of smartphones, tablets, and other devices running the Android operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's subsystem. Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and hardware manufacturers put on some devices, resulting in the ability to alter or replace system applications and settings, run specialized apps that require administrator-level permissions, or perform other operations that are otherwise inaccessible to a normal Android user. Rooting is analogous to jailbreaking devices running the Apple iOS operating system.
The root user is the boss and can do anything (good or bad) on the device like Administrator in win7.

Wipe/Hard Reset
When you do a factory reset (AKA: wipe, hard reset, factory wipe, etc.), you are erasing the /data and /cache partitions. Note that a factory reset does NOT put your phone back to its factory state from an OS standpoint. Ex: If you've upgraded to froyo, you will stay on froyo, because the OS lives in /system, and that is not touched during a factory reset. So "factory data reset," as it says under Settings > SD & phone storage, causes confusion. It's not a factory reset. It's a factory DATA reset. Now you know the distinction.

Taken from xda-developers,androidpolice,androidforums,cyanogen,ME

Last edited by .:Abdul-Basit:.; 02-04-2014 at 23:01. Reason: Updated
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:37   #2 (permalink)
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Android Dictionary

Android - Operating System for smartphones and tablets, based on Linux, built by Google, similar to Windows on PC.

AOSP - Short for Android Open Source Project. The open-sourced code from which individuals can build new distributions of Android.

APK - An Android executable file, similar to the .exe file in Windows. Most programs will install with a .apk file.

Baseband - System of a smartphone, that controls the cellular radio systems(GSM, 3G, HSDPA etc).

Bootloader - Controls the booting process, makes sure that you will access User Interface. These programs tell the Android device how to start up, and are critical to its functionality.

Build.prop - A plain text file which contains environmental variables for the system to use during operation. Can be hacked to fake a different model for increased functionality, among many other operations.

BusyBox - Command line bridge, used to give commands to Android system. You will need app to send commands, it will use BusyBox to send the commands.

Brick - A phone, that you paid a lot for and now you can use it as brick, because it doesn't start up.

Cooked - Refers to ROMs which have been modified and optimised by users to offer better performance than a carrier ROM or a release by Microsoft. Cooked ROMs can be found in the wiki pages.

CID - The CID (Carrier ID) of the device is a setting which determines which carrier ROMs should be allowed to run on the device. All bootloaders will only allow a ROM with the correct CID to be flashed onto the device. A device which has been CID unlocked will have SuperCID which allows ANY ROM to be loaded onto the device.

CWM/ClockworkMod Recovery - A specific program, that is used before booting to Android. Allows the user to make full backup of system and install custom ROMs, updates etc.

CM - Short for CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is an Android build built from the Android Open Source Project, and its builds are usable on multiple different Android Devices.

Dalvik Cache - The collection of program information stored for use by the DALVIK program. This can be cleared from the RECOVERY menu to resolve issues with the Android OS.

Downgrade - A job, that you have to do, when you want to get from newer firmware to older firmware.

Factory Reset - This will remove all user customizations in the Android OS, returning it to a factory state. Note: This will not wipe the Internal SD card.

Fastboot - Command Line Tool to edit Android filesystem. Unlike flashmode, this allows flashing unsigned partition images.


Flashing - The act of writing code to the Android device. ROMs, MODEMs, KERNELs, and BOOTLOADERs can all be flashed. Independent from, and having nothing to do with, Adobe's Flash product.

Flashmode - Phone mode, where you can freely flash any firmware to your phone via WotanServer or Flashtool.

Force Close - When a program on the Android device becomes unstable, the DALVIK program will force it to terminate to prevent further system instability.

GB/Gingerbread - Android 2.3 version, codename Gingerbread, mostly used shortly as GB.

Kernel - Bridge between hardware and Android, used for hardware information exchange and control hardware parts(CPU etc).

MD5 Checksum - A 32-digit (128-bit) hash number generated by a cryptographic program to ensure that a downloaded file matches the original file. The original file is run through the MD5 generator program, which creates the 32-bit number. This number is checked against the md5 number created with the file the end user receives to ensure file integrity.

Normal Mode - normal state means when device is fully powered on and you can see menu widgets and...

Nandroid Backup - A complete system image backup of the Android device except for the MODEM and KERNEL. Can be accessed from CWM.

OTA/Over The Air - Updating your phone firmware directly from your phone via 3G or WiFi connection.

Overclocking - Setting the processor's clock speed to run faster than its default setting, i.e. 1200 MHz (1.2 GHz) vs 1000 MHz (1.0 GHz).

RAM - Random Access Memory, data storage area, where are currently in use apps and services. It is used, because it has really high data transfer rate compared to other possibilities(SDcard, hard disks etc).

ROM - Read Only Memory, data storage, where the data can only be read by system itself. It includes all data to start the Android. Many developers edit this ROM to change Android interface.

Root(ing) - Process, during which user gets access to Android system partition and files, giving the possibility to edit Android.

RUU Mode - its a flash mode,in some case if hboot damaged device after power goto ruu mode.

S-OFF - (Security OFF) means that the NAND portion of the device is unlocked and can be written to. The default setting for HTC’s devices is S-ON, which means that neither can you access certain areas of the system nor can you guarantee a permanent root. Furthermore, signature check for firmware images is also ensured by the S-ON flag.

SU - "Super user", or root permissions

SuperCID - By CID unlocking your device the value of the CID is changed to 'SuperCID or 11111111'. This allows the flashing of ANY ROM to the device regardless of the carrier.

Taken from XDA-Developers,ME
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